A ceremony in the Romish church, by which persons deceased are ranked in the catalogue of the saints. It succeeds beatification. Before a beatified person is canonized, the qualifications of the candidate are strictly examined into, in some consistories held for that purpose; after which one of the consistorial advocates, in the presence of the pope and cardinals, makes the panegvric of the person who is to be proclaimed a saint, and gives a particular detail of his life and miracles; which being done, the holy father decrees his canonization, and appoints the day.

On the day of canonization, the pope officiates in white, and their eminences are dressed in the same colour. St. Peter’s church is hung with rich tapestry, upon which the arms of the pope, and of the prince or state requiring the canonization, are embroidered in gold and silver. A great number of lights blaze all round the church, which is crowded with pious souls, who wait with devout impatience till the new saint has made his public entry, as it were, into paradise, that they may offer up their petitions to him without danger of being rejected.

The following maxim with regard to canonization is now observed, though it has not been followed above a century, viz. not to enter into the inquiries prior to canonization till fifty years, at least, after the death of the person to be canonized. By the ceremony of canonization it appears that this rite of the modern Romans has something in it very like the apotheosis or deification of the ancient Romans, and in all probability takes it rise from it; at least, several ceremonies of the same nature are conspicuous in both.


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